Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Another American favorite. And the possibilities are endless! There are several important factors to making a good pizza. Let's start with the crust.

Basic Pizza Crust

.25 oz/7 g dry active yeast or fresh brewers yeast. May need to use a little more or less depending on the strength of the fresh yeast.
1 cup/2.3 Dl warm water (no more than 110C. Hotter than that kills the yeast)
1 Tbsp. Sugar
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2.5-3 cups all purpose flour ( I like to use 2 cups whole wheat flour and the rest white flour)

Mix yeast, water, and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Let rest in a warm area of the kitchen until there is a tannish colored cloud in the water. Add the olive oil. Then add 2 cups of the flour. Mix with a spoon until all of the flour is good and wet. *now the hard part* Then gradually add the rest of the flour a little bit at a time as needed. While you are doing this you should be mixing and kneading the dough with your hands. You want to add enough flour so that the dough doesn't stick to your hands but where you can't see too much extra flour on the outside. (This will take practice to get the dough just right. Keep practicing since this recipe is dirt cheap to make. You will be so happy you kept trying once you do get it right! ) Don't over knead the dough otherwise it will just turn out tough. Once you are done, cover the bowl with a dish towel and let it rest in a warm place for 15-20 min.

Now the really fun part! You can chose what type of crust you want. This recipe makes 1 deep dish (as in the photo), 1 standard, OR 2 thin crusts. For the deep dish, I used a spring form pan. I just rolled it out to a size a bit smaller than would fit in. For the thin crust I divide the dough in 2 and roll each piece out separately. I never bother to try and get the pizza round. They always end up with some funky shape resembling amoebas!


Here you really can get creative. This is a list of some of my favorite toppings and tricks.

-Canned diced tomatoes. Make sure you drain off all of the liquid first otherwise you will end up with a soggy pizza.
-Use a variety of different types of cheese. Don't just stick with shredded mozzarella. Try gouda, swiss, cheddar, or no cheese at all!
-When using fresh mushrooms be aware that they will add extra moisture and water. Slice them thinly or saute them before adding.
-Pizzas are a great way to use leftovers! Slice up grilled sausage, crumble meatloaf, sliced pork chops.
-In the beginning I used to make a nice flavorful sauce. It added a lot to the prep time and as it turns out it really didn't make too much of a difference in the taste. Now, I just put drained diced tomatoes or tomato sauce on and sprinkle with a store bought pizza or italian herb mix and a little bit of garlic powder.
-If you want to spice things up a bit, try adding crushed red pepper flakes or a little bit of hot sauce to the tomato sauce base.
-Try adding spices or using different types of flour for the crust. I really love the taste the whole wheat flour adds. And it makes it more healthy. Try substituting 1/4 cup oatmeal or cornmeal or corn flour, or add 1 tbsp. flax seed, dried basil, or thyme.
-I typically roll out my dough on the kitchen counter. Just make sure there is plenty of flour to keep the dough from sticking. Then I put it on a standard over tray on parchment or baking paper. I really recommend using a pizza stone but I have been lazy and haven't invested in one yet. You can also just use a standard pizza plate. You can use some corn meal to help prevent sticking in the pan but as long as you have something that is non stick it really isn't needed.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Breakfast Pancakes

Pancakes are an easy and important part of an American breakfast. Therefor, this is one of the first recipes I perfected when I moved here. If you *can* find Aunt Jemima she is expensive and on the import aisle. All of these ingredients are cheap and available in almost any store. As for syrup, maple syrup is plentiful though expensive. Make sure and avoid the cranberry(tranebær) flavored one. Eww. The standard light (lys) syrup or one of the dessert ones will do in a pinch as well. I bought several bottles of imitation maple flavoring on my last trip home and have been using that to make syrup.

As a note these are not to be confused with the flat Danish pandekage which is eaten typically for dinner or dessert.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and add milk, egg, melted butter, and vanilla. Mix until smooth but don't over mix. A few little tiny lumps are fine.

Heat a frying pan or griddle on med-high heat. Pour a small amount of the batter into the pan. Size will vary depending on if you want cute small little pancakes or big saucer sized ones. I usually go for somewhere in the middle. Once little bubbles start to form in the batter (1 minute or less if the pan is hot) flip over and cook for another 30 seconds or so until it is a nice golden brown. Cooking the pancakes is the hardest part and takes a little practice. If they seem too thick or too thin add more milk or flour.

This reciped will feed 2-3 adults.

-I have 2x or 3x the recipe depending on how many people I am feeding.
-Add in 1 smashed banana or 1/2 cup berries. The banana is a house favorite.
-1 teaspoon vanilla sugar instead of liquid.
-Substitute whole wheat flour for plain..
-Substitute flour with 1 1/4 cups flour and 1/4 cup oatmeal. You may need to add a few Tbsp. of milk.
-Use 3/4 cup milk and 1/2 cup buttermilk.

The Beginning

I have always been around people that love to cook. All of the women (and a few of the men) in my life have loved being in the kitchen concocting and creating. I have traveled extensively and have tasted flavors from around the world. Southern, Polish, Russian, Asian, Mexican...all of this has shaped me into the cook I am today.

I have always enjoyed cooking but I didn't really know how far I could take things until I moved to Denmark. I was faced with permanently being away from many of my favorite comfort foods and I just didn't know if I could cope. I started to panic about never having Waffle House or Papa John's pizza. So I started researching recipes online and making my friends and family guinea pigs.

I have discovered so much about myself and my abilities. I want to learn more and am constantly pushing myself to try new things. I do not aspire to be a world class chef. I just want to be able to create the best dishes I possibly can and hopefully help some of my fellow expats find a little taste of home.

So feel free to take my recipes and expand on them and test them. Let me know how it turns out!